Warm Southern Breeze

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Republican Father of ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Denies He Ever Created It

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 24, 2012

Liar.

Weasel.

Republican.

Can you smell the hypocrisy cooking?

Column: Don’t blame Heritage for ObamaCare mandate

By Stuart Butler

Updated 2/6/2012 10:40 AM

Is the individual mandate at the heart of “ObamaCare” a conservative idea? Is it constitutional? And was it invented at The Heritage Foundation? In a word, no. {ed. note: That’s utter bullshit, which you’ll understand why as you read on.}

Column-Dont-blame-Heritage-for-ObamaCare-DNUT42U-x

Stuart Butler, By Kate Patterson, USA TODAY (The liar looks happy as a lark, doesn’t he? Apparently, there’s no joy in Mudville.)

The U.S. Supreme Court will put the middle issue to rest. The answers to the first and last can come from me. After all, I headed Heritage’s health work for 30 years. And make no mistake: Heritage and I actively oppose the individual mandate, including in an amicus brief filed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, the myth persists. ObamaCare “adopts the ‘individual mandate’ concept from the conservative Heritage Foundation,” Jonathan Alter wrote recently in The Washington Post. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the same claim, asserting that Republican support of a mandate “has its roots in a proposal by the conservative Heritage Foundation.” Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have made similar claims.

The confusion arises from the fact that 20 years ago, I held the view that as a technical matter, some form of requirement to purchase insurance was needed in a near-universal insurance market to avoid massive instability through “adverse selection” (insurers avoiding bad risks and healthy people declining coverage). At that time, President Clinton was proposing a universal health care plan, and Heritage and I devised a viable alternative. {ed. note: By writing “I devised a viable alternative,” he confesses to inventing the idea of the Individual Mandate.}

My view was shared at the time by many conservative experts, including American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholars, as well as most non-conservative analysts. Even libertarian-conservative icon Milton Friedman, in a 1991 Wall Street Journal article, advocated replacing Medicare and Medicaid “with a requirement that every U.S. family unit have a major medical insurance policy.”

My idea was hardly new. Heritage did not invent the individual mandate. {ed. note: He claims he didn’t invent it, but cites NOTHING to validate or verify his specious claim.}

But the version of the health insurance mandate Heritage and I supported in the 1990s had three critical features. First, it was not primarily intended to push people to obtain protection for their own good, but to protect others. Like auto damage liability insurance required in most states, our requirement focused on “catastrophic” costs — so hospitals and taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for the expensive illness or accident of someone who did not buy insurance. {ed. note: Whether “for their own good” or “to protect others” is a vacuous argument, because the results are the same, either way. People are protected.}

Second, we sought to induce people to buy coverage primarily through the carrot of a generous health credit or voucher, financed in part by a fundamental reform of the tax treatment of health coverage, rather than by a stick. {ed. note: “ObamaCare” provides “a generous health credit or voucher.”}

And third, in the legislation we helped craft that ultimately became a preferred alternative to ClintonCare, the “mandate” was actually the loss of certain tax breaks for those not choosing to buy coverage, not a legal requirement. {ed. note: In “ObamaCare” there is a penalty “for those not choosing to buy coverage.”}

So why the change in this position in the past 20 years?

First, health research and advances in economic analysis have convinced people like me that an insurance mandate isn’t needed to achieve stable, near-universal coverage. For example, the new field of behavioral economics taught me that default auto-enrollment in employer or nonemployer insurance plans can lead many people to buy coverage without a requirement. {ed. note: If that’s true, then why have the numbers of uninsured Americans risen?}

Also, advances in “risk adjustment” tools are improving the stability of voluntary insurance. And Heritage-funded research on federal employees’ coverage — which has no mandate — caused me to conclude we had made a mistake in the 1990s. That’s why we believe that President Obama and others are dead wrong about the need for a mandate. {ed. note: Comparing “research on federal employees’ coverage” to average Americans is like comparing apples to a pine tree. Federal employees are, for the greatest part, unionized employees, and their health insurance coverage is perhaps the most excellent of any type available in the United States. See http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/ for more details. Further, the only employees who receive healthcare as part and parcel of their employment are Military Service Members.}

Additionally, the meaning of the individual mandate we are said to have “invented” has changed over time. Today it means the government makes people buy comprehensive benefits for their own good, rather than our original emphasis on protecting society from the heavy medical costs of free riders. {ed. note: Merely repeating the lie doesn’t change it. Whether “for their own good” or “to protect others” is a vacuous argument, because the results are the same, either way. People are protected.}

Moreover, I agree with my legal colleagues at Heritage that today’s version of a mandate exceeds the constitutional powers granted to the federal government. Forcing those Americans not in the insurance market to purchase comprehensive insurance for themselves goes beyond even the most expansive precedents of the courts. {ed. note: I agree with everyone that shit stinks, but our agreement makes no difference to the way it smells. Further, our Nation’s Founders would disagree with you that “today’s version of a mandate exceeds the constitutional powers granted to the federal government” precisely because those in the Fifth Congress authored a law that did that very thing. It was called “An Act for the relief of sick and disabled Seamen,” and mandated health insurance, and required the private employer to send a part of a sailors’ pay to the federal government to pay for their healthcare.” See http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=728 for more details & to read the law.}

And there’s another thing. Changing one’s mind about the best policy to pursue — but not one’s principles — is part of being a researcher at a major think tank such as Heritage or the Brookings Institution. Serious professional analysts actually take part in a continuous bipartisan and collegial discussion about major policy questions. We read each other’s research. We look at the facts. We talk through ideas with those who agree or disagree with us. And we change our policy views over time based on new facts, new research or good counterarguments. {ed. note: “Bipartisan”? What the Hell is that to a Republican? Someone in their own party that disagrees? Please… don’t insult my intelligence with such babble. Besides, why didn’t you earlier write a paper that renounced what you’re now renouncing?}

Thanks to this good process, I’ve altered my views on many things. The individual mandate in health care is one of them. {ed. note: TRANSLATION: I hate Democrats, President Obama, and I’ll do, say or write anything – including contradict myself – to destroy anything they ever attempt to do.}

Stuart Butler, Ph.D., is a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org), where he is the director of the Center for Policy Innovation. {ed. note: Stuart Butler, Ph.D. is Goddamn hypocrite and liar.}

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-02-03/health-individual-mandate-reform-heritage/52951140/1

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes a variety of opinions from outside writers. On political and policy matters, we publish opinions from across the political spectrum.

Roughly half of our columns come from our Board of Contributors, a group whose interests range from education to religion to sports to the economy. Their charge is to chronicle American culture by telling the stories, large and small, that collectively make us what we are.

We also publish weekly columns by Al Neuharth, USA TODAY’s founder, and DeWayne Wickham, who writes primarily on matters of race but on other subjects as well. That leaves plenty of room for other views from across the nation by well-known and lesser-known names alike.

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2 Responses to “Republican Father of ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Denies He Ever Created It”

  1. [...] Republican Father of ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Denies He Ever Created It (warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com) [...]

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